According to The Guardian, Senior police figures highlighted their concerns last week by saying easing lockdown rules is “madness” and could risk further disorder. Last Wednesday, the Home Office minster Kit Malthouse, was told during a meeting with the police and crime commissioners that reopening the hospitality sector including pubs could lead to increased violence.
Mr Malthouse reportedly “brushed the concerns away”.
Labour’s David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, told the Guardian: “The issue was raised and it is total madness, we all know it’s madness.
“Some of [Mr Malthouse’s] Conservative colleagues raised it as well, particularly those on the coast.”
The day after this meeting took place, Bournemouth council declared a “mayor incident” when tens of thousands of people took to its beaches on the south coast.
Senior police figures say easing lockdown rules is “madness”
Boris Johnson announced that pubs can reopen on 4 July
In the same week, police were also attacked at illegal street parties in Notting Hill and Brixton in London.
On Saturday, the police forces warned that any person who attends an illegal rave risks being prosecuted.
Speaking to The Guardian, artist Jeremy Deller explained how likely illegal music events will be during the summer.
He said: “There is a clear demand for something that is currently illicit again and the impulse is the same: congregation, community, enjoyment – now with the added frisson of lockdown.”
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The government reportedly ignored police officials’ warnings about lifting lockdown
Ben Assiter, musician and DJ, who has studied night-time culture in London for a PhD, also highlighted how the annihilation of London’s nightlife is partly the cause.
He argued: “The mainstream scene has been so boring and restricted for a while that the kind of hedonistic abandon glorified from the 90s doesn’t happen in places like [long-established club] Fabric.”
Mr Assiter went on to claim the need for release and a febrile political mood has increased the popularity of rave scenes during the coronavirus lockdown.
He said: “The context is different now.
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The government were reportedly told that reopening pubs could lead to increased violence
Pubs are set to reopen on 4 July for the first time since lockdown began in March
“In the late 80s, it was the opposite: young people were sick of politics.
“Now we’re seeing a whole new politicisation of young people.”
He added: “I love raving but I’m hoping some of the energy this summer will translate into Black Lives Matter and protests.”
Mr Jamieson said the government should reopen pubs and the hospitality sector during the week, rather than on a Saturday, to be able to manage high demand and levels of emotion.
He told The Guardian: “We’re not against lifting the lockdown – it’s the way that we do it.
“To actually open the pubs on a midsummer Saturday night strikes me as a decision from people who are disastrously out of touch with reality.
“It’s going to be very challenging – very, very challenging – that weekend.”
Mr Jamieson also expressed his issues with how Boris Johnson phrased the announcement on Tuesday, especially the Prime Minister’s promise to take England out of “national hibernation”.
Mr Jamieson also expressed his issues with how Boris Johnson phrased the announcement on Tuesday
He said: “What they’re doing is irresponsible.
“[The government] just haven’t thought it through – they’ve thought through the politics of it but [not] the wider consequences for society.”
A spokesperson from the Home Office told The Guardian: “We recognise that as restrictions are carefully eased, we are trusting the public to comply with more subtle social restrictions.
“There is no excuse for violence, vandalism or disorderly behaviour and the police have our full support in cracking down on those who flout restrictions.”